Languages for different purposes (was Re: New user's initial thoughts / criticisms of Python)

Mark Janssen dreamingforward at
Sun Nov 10 02:36:06 CET 2013

On Sat, Nov 9, 2013 at 2:58 PM, Chris Angelico <rosuav at> wrote:
> So, on what basis _would_ you choose a language for some purpose?
> Without speaking specifically of web development here, how do you
> choose a language?

Most generally, you choose a language informed by the language
designer's intentions of the language, usually stated explicitly.  Of
course, if you're in a constrained environment, then that is going to
dictate your decision.   After that, you're left with your own level
of expertise regarding language design (which for many is not much)
and the breadth of the field to examine (usually larger than most are
familiar).  This is an arena where PhD's are made.

Obviously, languages just designed to [brain]f*ck with you, despite
being theoretically complete, aren't much of a candidate for

> But that would still leave you with a good few choices. When it comes
> down to it, how do you choose between Ruby, Python, Perl, Pike,
> JavaScript, <insert language of choice here>, etcetera? I can think of
> a few considerations that may or may not be important... and I'm sure
> you can add more.

Among general purpose languages that pretty much offer the same
benefits, the community often informs the decision.

Tacoma, Washington

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